Fall marks the end of many things in the northern hemisphere. It means the end of summer, the end of warmer weather and long days, the end of vacation season and school breaks. For flu season, however, fall marks the beginning of an eight-month stretch that is plagued with fevers, a constantly running nose, and a sore throat. All this can be avoided with one simple immunization. Continue reading below for more information on how to keep yourself and others healthy this fall.

What Exactly is the Flu?

Short for influenza, the flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this virus can cause serious illness and in some cases, death. In most cases, the flu is not serious. Some populations, however, may be at a greater risk for contracting the virus and having difficulty fighting it. This includes the young, elderly, and those with chronic health issues with weakened immune systems. Those who contract the flu may experience a fever, runny nose, cough, sore throat, and in some cases vomiting or diarrhea. While individuals may contract the flu at any time during the year, the flu virus is most active in the U.S. between October and May, with most cases reported in February.

How is it Spread?

Each year, roughly 3-11% of the U.S. population contracts the flu. This high number is in part because of how easy the virus spreads. It can be spread from up to six feet away, through moisture release when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Sometimes people fail to take their sickness seriously as the flu is something people usually contact multiple times during their lives, sometimes getting it annually!

While receiving the flu vaccine can help reduce your chances of contracting the virus, washing your hands can do world of good when it comes to preventing the spreading of germs.

Why is receiving a vaccine important?

The flu vaccine is relatively affordable in an effort to encourage individuals to vaccinate and stop its spread as it is highly contagious.

Because it is so contagious, AMOpportunities requires medical students and graduates completing rotations during the months between October and May to receive this vaccination. Without this, they may not be considered fully enrolled. This immunization is meant to protect you and those around you, including the physicians and patients you are interacting with. Getting this immunization will lower your chances of contracting this virus so you can spend time at the clinical and hospital putting your medical skills and knowledge to good use.

Where can I get a vaccine?

In the U.S., flu vaccines can be received at many walk-in clinics and pharmacies for a relatively low price. The vaccine is only good for a year, so it is important that you get a new one each time flu season comes back around. If you are coming to the U.S. for a rotation with AMO between October and May, contact your Coach for more information on where you can obtain this vaccine.

Are you interested in treating those with the flu, a clinical rotation with AMO could help you towards this goal by providing a clinical experience in internal medicine? Sign up and get exploring our rotations today!